How to format your references using the Constraints citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Constraints. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Segal, M. (2012). Material history: Learning from silicon. Nature, 483(7389), S43-4.
A journal article with 2 authors
González-Reyes, A., & Casanova, J. (2008). Developmental biology. Return to the proliferative pool. Science (New York, N.Y.), 321(5895), 1450–1451.
A journal article with 3 authors
Nakagaki, T., Yamada, H., & Tóth, A. (2000). Maze-solving by an amoeboid organism. Nature, 407(6803), 470.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Zhu, Q., Sun, Y., Zhu, J., Fang, T., Zhang, W., & Li, J.-X. (2014). Antinociceptive effects of sinomenine in a rat model of neuropathic pain. Scientific reports, 4, 7270.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Rosier, J. A., Martens, M. A., & Thomas, J. R. (2014). Global New Drug Development. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Artikis, A., Craven, R., Kesim Çiçekli, N., Sadighi, B., & Stathis, K. (Eds.). (2012). Logic Programs, Norms and Action: Essays in Honor of Marek J. Sergot on the Occasion of His 60th Birthday (Vol. 7360). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Sallusto, F., Martín-Fontecha, A., & Lanzavecchia, A. (2006). Dendritic cell traffic control by chemokines. In B. Moser, G. L. Letts, & K. Neote (Eds.), Chemokine Biology — Basic Research and Clinical Application: Volume I: Immunobiology of Chemokines (pp. 79–89). Basel: Birkhäuser.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for Constraints.

Blog post
Davis, J. (2016, May 2). These Are The Biggest Threats To The Future Of Humanity. IFLScience. IFLScience. Retrieved October 30, 2018, from


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office. (1988). [Comments on DOT Authority To Requisition Vessels] (No. B-229258). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Barta, M. E. (2009). Culture, customer-centricity, and customer relationship management in an online postsecondary learning institution (Doctoral dissertation). Capella University, Minneapolis, MN.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
Gustines, G. G. (2016, March 28). The Newest Superpower: Passing Through Network Walls. New York Times, p. C5.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

This sentence cites one reference [1].
This sentence cites two references [1, 2].
This sentence cites four references [1–4].

About the journal

Full journal titleConstraints
ISSN (print)1383-7133
ISSN (online)1572-9354
ScopeArtificial Intelligence
Computational Theory and Mathematics
Discrete Mathematics and Combinatorics

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